Forgiven for Christ’s Sake #3

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

Verses 31 and 32 contain nine items worth discussing: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

  • Bitterness—“intense antagonism or hostility.” The Bible says this characterizes lost mankind (Romans 3:14).
  • Wrath—“strong, stern, or fierce anger; deeply resentful indignation; ire.” Idolaters in Ephesus were very angry—“full of wrath”—when their religion was threatened (Acts 19:28).
  • Anger—“a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.”
  • Clamour—“raise an outcry.” This was the “great cry” when Israel’s religious leaders argued (Acts 23:9); Jesus’ “strong crying” when He prayed to Father God in Gethsemane (Hebrews 5:7); the “loud cry” of an angel concerning judgment (Revelation 14:18). In the context of Ephesians, it means shouting over others—a crowd whose conversation is indistinct chatter.
  • Evil speaking—“harmful or immoral words.” Transliterated, the Greek word is blasphemia. This means “to speak evil,” and the context of Ephesians 4:31 implies “gossip” and/or “slander.”
  • Malice—“desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness.” Paul discouraged the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Corinthians 14:20) and the Colossians (Colossians 3:8) from behaving this way. Maliciousness also characterizes lost people (Titus 3:3). Peter instructed the kingdom saints of Israel’s program to avoid malice too (1 Peter 2:1).
  • Kind one to another—“gentle; sympathetic.” In stark contrast to how the world hates us (1 John 3:12,13).
  • Tenderhearted—“pitiful; well-compassionate” (cf. 1 Peter 3:8). The idea is opposite a hard heart, one that feels no sympathy and is unaffected when others suffer.
  • Forgiveness—“send away.” This definition is the answer to all the confusion as to what forgiveness is and what forgiveness is not. It is such an intricate topic that we must withhold it until our next study!

Remember, the Summer Family Bible Conference continues today and into tomorrow!

Forgiven for Christ’s Sake #2

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

What is true forgiveness?

It is evident from their eponymous epistle that the Ephesian believers were mature Christians. Ephesians is certainly a more advanced version of the grace teaching found in the book of Romans. Believers in Ephesus were surely no Corinthians (extremely carnal and worldly), but they still had their own problems. Friends, that should tell us something. Contrary to those who hold to the nonsensical idea of “entire sanctification,” spiritual maturity does not mean sinlessness! Some of the common sins in Ephesus are exposed in the context of today’s Scripture. The Holy Spirit through Paul wrote to correct such un-Christian behavior.

Let us begin reading in verse 31 and continue into today’s Scripture: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Now we proceed to dissect these two verses into their individual thoughts. Nine particular terms or phrases can be extracted: “Let all (1) bitterness, and (2) wrath, and (3) anger, and (4) clamour, and (5) evil speaking, be put away from you, with all (6) malice; And be ye (7) kind one to another, (8) tenderhearted, (9) forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

The first six items are spoken of in a negative light. Therefore, they need to be “put away” (removed) from the Christian’s life. Such actions are contrary to our identity in Christ. They do not belong in our lives because they are not the fruit of the Spirit of God. Then, there are three positive actions in this passage. These three belong in the Christian’s life; the final clause is the key to experiencing them in your Christian life. Now, we proceed to define all nine items. Having a working knowledge of them will help us better understand today’s Scripture and thereby forgiveness.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we use the word ‘demons?’

Appreciative, Not Angry

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17,18 KJV).

Be appreciative to Father God that He gave you the privilege of avoiding spiritual error!

Some time ago, a woman was explaining how her local church had experienced a very difficult split. The pastor had become a dictator and much of the assembly had broken off to form a new group where sound doctrine would be upheld. (My family, having been through four church splits, knows all about the tremendous spiritual and emotional damage that results.) The dear lady explained that one member of the church refused to return to either assembly. He was “mad at God.” What a sad predicament that describes so many countless souls all around the world!

Could I say some words to you, friend? If you have ever been “burned” by a local church breaking up, please do not treat God like He had anything to do with it. Why punish the Person who loves you unconditionally forever? Why mistreat the Person who sent His Son to die for your sins so you would not have to spend eternity in the lake of fire? What did God ever do to you to make you angry? (Did He not give the “church-splitter” the same free will He gave you?) If people do not have sound Bible doctrine operating in them, what do we expect but problems?

It is important not to hold a grudge. Forgive that “church splitter” as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you, lest Satan use that bitterness to get the advantage over you and other believers (2 Corinthians 2:10,11). Leave the apostate church and praise God that He gave you enough doctrinal discernment to do so! (What God could have done is never given you a Bible, and let you be completely clueless as to what His local church looks like and what His local church teaches!)

Their Loss Not Ours!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

“Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out” (Proverbs 24:19,20 KJV).

What great advice—to Israel or to us!

A Christian sister recently browsing social media grew angry. (We can all relate.) She had drifted onto the webpages of certain people who had greatly wronged her in the past. Her stirred-up emotions, not having a mind of their own, had caused her to (wrongly) believe the past was ongoing. She had kept perusing to see more text and additional pictures of their “success,” “popularity,” and overall “nice” outward appearance. Everyone had “flocked” to them—she was the outcast, even after all those years trying to do right. The anger gradually escalated. My advice to her was simple: “Get off! Move on! Get off!”

Brethren, let today’s Scripture sink into your hearts and minds. This is as close to “heaven” as lost people will get. Let them heap to themselves as many “friends” as possible on Earth—there are no “friends” in hell! Let them heap to themselves as many “pennies” as possible on Earth—there are no “riches” in hell! Let them heap to themselves as much “nice outward show” as possible on Earth—there is no “beauty” in hell! Let them live it up now. Except they die in Jesus Christ, here is as good as it will ever get for them. Once their “candle” is “put out”—their house is darkened because they have died—we certainly do not want to envy them at that point! Most certainly, they gained the whole world temporarily and lost their soul eternally (Matthew 16:26)!

Today’s Scripture is actually God the Holy Spirit encouraging believing Israelites (poor, destitute of goods, rejected, despised, imprisoned, bereaved) not to look at their unsaved Jewish brethren who are prospering materially and socially for following the Antichrist, yet future (Revelation 13:15-17; cf. Psalm 37). Why? The unsaved… when death comes, they lose their fortunes, their friends, their lives, and finally their souls. My, how we pray earnestly for their eternal salvation in Jesus Christ before it is too late. Without Him, it is their loss, not ours!

Churning, Wringing, and Forcing

Saturday, April 20, 2013

“Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife” (Proverbs 30:33 KJV).

There is more to today’s Scripture than meets the eye….

Today’s Scripture is an example of parallelism. Note the gerunds “churning, wringing, forcing” and their corresponding nouns “butter, blood, strife.” This grammatical structure is a teaching technique that God the Holy Spirit utilizes here in His Word to reinforce both comparison and distinction. He helps us understand deeper concepts by using simpler, more familiar ones.

Interestingly, one Hebrew word, miyts, is translated to render three diverse English words—“churning,” “wringing,” and “forcing.” Nevertheless, these three different English terms convey the same concept: effort vigorously applied to achieve a desired result.

So, what does today’s Scripture mean? It should be pretty obvious. If you churn (stir) milk long enough, butter will be produced. If you twist someone’s nose long enough, blood will gush out. If you anger someone long enough, strife (fighting) will result. (Notice the parallelism in this paragraph.)

“The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with” (Proverbs 17:14). This verse likens the beginning of strife to a giant wall of water rushing forth—you had better leave quickly, or you will literally be swept away by a flood of conflict!

One of the main reasons why sinful man wants to argue is pride. He does not want to admit that he is wrong, that he is not the final authority, and that he is a feeble frame of dust that is subject to fallibility. Having one individual like this is bad enough, but when two such persons are gathered together, our Lord Jesus Christ anticipated the outcome—anger and a disagreement that, if not settled in a Christian manner, may never be resolved.

Today’s Scripture could not be simpler. If you do not want butter, churn not the milk. If you do not want blood to come forth, wring not the nose. If you do not want the argument, force not the anger.

Brethren, Pray for Us

Friday, November 2, 2012

“Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thessalonians 5:25 KJV).

Today’s Scripture exhorts us to pray for our Christian brethren, and we beseech you to especially pray for this ministry.

Saints, I hope you do not mind, but I must share with you what has been on my heart for these past few weeks (and several months). It is very difficult to express in words, but I have endured (and am still enduring) one of the most heart-wrenching issues life affords. The issue, whose details God knows, has hindered this ministry for nearly 18 months now. From the very beginning, I tried my absolute best to handle it Scripturally, hoping to avoid the disastrous outcome that nevertheless came to fruition.

In short, dear readers, I want to take this opportunity to counsel with you, in hopes that you will spare your Christian brethren the emotional, spiritual, and mental turmoil that troubles me still. I beseech you to take the utmost care in the words you say and the deeds you do, especially to your grace brethren in Christ. The lost world is certainly unkind to us Christians. Why must we too “consume one another?” When we do it to the Christian brethren, we do it to Christ!!!!

We Christians always have forgiveness at Christ’s cross, but the damage we do to our Christian brethren does not magically disappear. We can never take back those harsh words. Thus, let us exercise great care in what words we speak, especially to our grace brethren in Christ. Let us prayerfully meditate on the rightly divided King James Bible before we make rash decisions we will later regret. We do and will make mistakes, but if we persist in those mistakes, we really have not grasped what grace living is all about.

Grace living is not sinless living, but letting God’s grace transform you, and allowing it to correct you when you do make mistakes. Selfishness, bitterness, and bickering are inconsistent with God’s grace to us in Christ; consequently, they do not belong in our lives. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Hope Deferred, Sick Heart Incurred

Sunday, September 2, 2012

“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12 KJV).

Regarding today’s Scripture, we can all shout, “Amen!”

Have you ever had an intense desire to have something (or perhaps, someone)? Your heart was thrilled beyond words, was it not? How you looked forward to that wish coming true. In effect, that want became a crutch, something that you depended on entirely. You had such hope, and you looked forward to that certain event happening (a relationship, raise at work, new car or house, friendship, job, vacation trip, et cetera).

But to your horror, that hope was shattered, as that dream was “deferred” (delayed), or worse, it never even came to pass. Were you not sick to your stomach? Did you not have a horrible feeling inside, like something in you died? Maybe you despaired even of life? Perhaps you felt angry, sad, or both. This is to be expected, since the first part of today’s Scripture reads: “Hope deferred [delayed, overdue] maketh the heart sick.” When we hope for something, and it fails to come to pass, it wounds us emotionally. Our innermost being feels sick.

Now, the second part of today’s Scripture declares: “but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” Here is the flipside to our previous paragraph: suppose that wish or hope did come true. Were you not overjoyed? You wanted to live and enjoy that good time, right? The Bible describes this as “a tree of life,” something that makes you want to live and makes you happy that you are alive.

Saints, life is full of disappointments. While we are emotional beings, we need to be reminded that our emotions should not be in control of our lives. Let us walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to us (believing the King James Bible rightly divided), and let our emotions follow us (not vice versa). Above all, let us hope in Jesus Christ and our sufficiency in Him, which hope is never deferred, and a sick heart is never incurred.